Imagine this year’s tax laws written in a language that you enjoy and understand. Or think of well-crafted words in your Final Will and Testimony – that express your legacy in language that inspires those you love. Is it time to demand clear communication for life-changing issues?
Some people look at this nation’s current shift of wealth to a few at the top, and wonder how they could have missed their own finances heading over slippery slopes. Others claim that government and business policies hide clues about their real meaning in the mayhem of chaotic legalese.
One change agent we worked with recently, suggested that lawyers and financial leaders deliberately use words few people understand, as a way to ensure that people will pay for ongoing services. Could that be true for other fields too?
Increasingly, we see people lose their homes over contracts they misunderstand. Others find themselves sued in lingo that leaves them confused about mistakes that otherwise could be fixed with respectful resolutions. Minorities face embarrassing situations when unfamiliar expressions exclude them. Leaders in one field falter because jargon in another field barricades any kind of joint solutions to shared problems.
Few would deny that when speech leads to miscommunication, dividends plummet for all. In the chaos of pretentious prose, meaning yields to confusion, and turmoil takes its place. What if we continually asked good questions until clarity replaced jargon in communications related to our lives and communities? Could we show that language without clarity is an emperor without clothes?